Omsk is a city in southwest Siberia in Russia, the administrative center of Omsk Oblast. The population in Omsk rose from 31,000 in 1881 and 53,050 in 1900 to 1,134,016 according to the 2002 population census. It is the second-largest city in the Siberian Federal District. The distance from Omsk to Moscow is 2,700 km.
Omsk was the seat of the Governor General of Western Siberia, and later of the Governor General of the Steppes. For a brief period during the Russian Civil War in 1918-1919, it was proclaimed the Capital of Russia, and held the imperial gold reserves.
Omsk is the administrative center of Siberian Cossacks, the see of the bishop of Omsk and Tara, and the imam of Siberia.
Omsk is situated on the banks of the north-flowing Irtysh, at its confluence with the Om River, at
an altitude of 87 m, and on both branches of the Trans-Siberian railway, 2,700 km east of Moscow, Omsk is the cross-junction of highways in the central part of Russian Federation. Passenger and freight boats along the Irtysh and the Ob Rivers provide connection from coal and mineral-mining towns in Kazakhstan, as well as oil, natural gas and lumber-rich northern Siberia. Scheduled and charter flights link Omsk with multiple domestic and international (primarily, German) destinations, making it an important air gateway to Siberia and the Far East.
Omsk's climate is dry and continental, characterized by dramatic swings of weather. The average daily temperatures are, over the last 30 years, +20°C in July and −19°C in January, although typical extremes reach +35°C in the summer and −35°C in the winter. The average number of sunny days is over 300 per year. The annual rainfall is 315 mm.
Since the 1990s, Omsk, along with all of Russia, has been struggling to find its place in the new world. The former party elite, new businessmen and the criminal world mixed together and fought for the control of the city's most profitable enterprises. The most notorious cases involved Sibneft, and were reported by the New York Times, yet nothing was ever resolved. Until 2000, the feud between the regional and the municipal authorities made at least two points of view available to the public, and some work was done for the public good. This includes the establishment of the annual Siberian International Marathon (SIM), the celebration of City Days, construction of new leisure parks and renovation of the historic center. Nevertheless, the feud drained the city's resources, and two mayors were forced to leave, with a replacement all but appointed by the region's governor, in his post since the communist era. Currently, all of the region's important power levers, including the courts and the media, are in the hands of the regional government. The city is underperforming the Russian averages on economic growth and quality of life.
On March 2nd, 2005, the Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan was opened, the first consulate in Omsk since 1917.
Omsk's chief landmark is actually an ensemble of buildings along Lyubinskiy prospekt / ulica Lenina. This is the former merchant's row, balanced by two chapels and crowned on the hill with a bourse and an opposing drama theater, all dating from late 1800s -- early 1900s. The little side streets are lined with stately mansions of former insurance companies, trusts and banks from the same period. Hidden closer to the river confluence are the few surviving practical and somber buildings of Omsk's 1700s fortress. Another area of interest is Nikolsky prospekt / ulica Krasnyh zor', where a line of merchants' wooden houses still stands. The street leads to the Neoclassical cathedral of St Nicholas, which was commissioned by the Cossacks, designed by Vasily Stasov and consecrated in 1840. It contains various relics of the Siberian Cossacks. Various other landmarks are scattered throughout the city.
A subway system, proposed in the late 80s, but postponed for lack of funds, is currently under construction, with the Metro bridge over the Irtysh river nearing completion. This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia